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This country at a glance

Total population.
Colleges that offer programs taught entirely in English.
English-taught bachelor's programs offered.
English-taught master's programs offered.

Best Universities in Spain for International Students

These universities have been vetted to accepted international students and offer programs that have no foreign language requirements.

Why should I study in Spain?

Famed for its warm and sunny climate, Spain is a popular place to study. In fact, Spain is the top destination for exchange students in the European Erasmus program. It is a vibrant country with an abundance of beautiful scenery, delicious cuisine, and cosmopolitan cities. It also has an important cultural scene, which has produced some of the world’s most renowned artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Spain is bordered by France to the north, Portugal to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east. It is a relatively big country, being the EU’s second-largest country after France. With its southern location, Spain enjoys some of the warmest weather in Europe. The summer average temperatures are often into the 80s and beyond, while winter temperatures rarely drop below 40. 

However, the inland and mountainous areas have larger temperature extremes. The everyday rhythms in Spain can seem quite different from those in America. The Spanish tend to eat later in the day, having lunch between 2-4 and dinner from 8:30–11. Siesta, the practice of sleeping for an hour or two in the afternoon, is still practiced by some but is dying out. Even so, many stores' opening hours reflect the siesta, opening from 10-2 and then reopening from 5-8. It goes without saying that Spanish is the main language in Spain. There are also other smaller languages, such as Catalan, spoken in some regions. Being able to speak Spanish while studying in Spain is a definite advantage, but there are a number of programs taught in English. The tuition fees in Spain are some of the lowest in Europe. There are also interesting housing programs such as "intergenerational" ones that lower or completely remove the cost of housing.  These programs work by providing you with low-cost or free lodging in an elderly person’s home in exchange for the company you give them.

How to Get Into the Best Unis in Spain

Many schools may require you to get your diploma legalized.  If your country is a member of The Hague Conference (and the US is a member), this is a fairly easy process as all you will need is something called an apostille certificate affixed to your diploma.  Your Secretary of State's office can generally issue this, but a full list is provided here. Check here to see if your country is a member of the HCCH.

Proof of means requirements.

The student must have a notarized letter indicating she or he has $1,000 per month of stay applied for to show proof of means and to get a long-term student visa. In other words, if you're applying for a 6-month student visa, you'll need to show proof of means of $6,000

Working in Spain as an International Student

International students with a work permit can work for up to 20 hours a week.

Student Residence Options in Spain

Long-term students (studying in Spain for longer than 90 days) will need a student visa. To apply for a visa, you must appear in person at the embassy or Spanish consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence or place of current study.

Applications for visas will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to check the hours and days the visa office is open. For instance, the visa office at the Spanish embassy in Washington, DC, is closed on Fridays. The process generally takes about 6 weeks, so apply early.

To get a long-term student visa, you’ll need to provide the following: a visa application form, completed and signed; a passport (original and copy). The passport must be valid for the intended period of your stay in Spain with at least one blank page to attach the visa. 1 recent passport-size photo with a white background. 2-Letter of acceptance as a full-time student from a Spanish school indicating: name, address, and registration number of the school with Spain's Department of Education; proof of full payment of tuition; duration of program; subjects of study; and hours of study per week, which must be no less than 20.

-Health Insurance (original form): International insurance coverage for health/accident with a minimum coverage equal to €30,000 during the planning period of stay in Spain (or its equivalency in dollars). 

-Proof of financial means during your stay: Please provide one of the following: 

-Letter from the school in Spain assuming full financial responsibility during your stay (this is often included in the acceptance letter). 

-Proof of financial aid or scholarship for at least $1,000 per month for room and board.

-Notarized letter from your parents or legal guardians assuming full financial responsibility for at least $1,000 per month for room and board. 

Suggested wording: “I hereby certify that I'm the (father/mother/other) of (student name), will support him/her with a monthly allowance of at least $1,000 while he/she is in Spain, and that I'm financially responsible for any emergency that may arise."

-Personal bank account statements showing at least $1,000 per month of stay.

-Cash in exact change to pay the non-refundable visa fee of $160 for US citizens. 

The above information is provided as guidance only and requirements are subject to change, so verify everything with the appropriate embassy as to the latest procedures and timelines. 

Health Insurance in Spain for International Students

Non-EU/EAA students will need to show proof of health insurance to get a visa. International insurance coverage for health/accident must have a minimum coverage equal to €30,000 (or its equivalent in another currency) during the planned period of stay in Spain.

Special notes

There is a lot that is appealing about Spain—the weather, the food, the culture.  I will say, though, that the admissions policy for universities is something that is not appealing.  The admissions criteria and procedures vary from school to school.  This in itself is fine, but I found it exceptionally difficult to get clarification from many of the schools I contacted.  Perhaps this is part of the laid-back culture, but it certainly creates an obstacle.

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English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
English-taught master's programs in our database.
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
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All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

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